Taijuan Walker has thrown 18 scoreless innings this spring

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After an injury wrecked 2014 season the Mariners chose not to hand a rotation spot to Taijuan Walker, making the 22-year-old former top prospect compete for a gig.

Presumably he’s done enough to get the job, throwing 18 scoreless innings with a 19/4 K/BB ratio, including six shutout innings against the Cubs yesterday.

Walker also has a 2.89 ERA in 53 career innings for the Mariners–which is just enough to make him ineligible for prospect lists and the Rookie of the Year award–and has always dominated in the minors.

It’s a year later than expected, but it looks like Walker is ready to make a big impact in Seattle. And he’s still just 22.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.